The warning comes after several high-profile cases of bullying grabbed national headlines in recent months. Just last month, an 18-year-old Rutgers University student committed suicide after his roommate secretly recorded video of him and his intimate relationship with another man.
The department is sending letters to schools reminding them of their federal obligations when it comes to addressing cases of ethnic, sexual, or religious based harassment. It has been one of the main concerns of the us education secretary.
"A school where children don't feel safe is a school where children will struggle to learn," says U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. "It's a school were student, where kids will drop out, tune out, or get depressed."
A new poll by Care.com found that bullying has surpassed kidnapping as a parent's greatest fear. Many parents agree that bullying is even more serious than domestic terrorism and car accidents.
One-third of parents surveyed are encouraging schools to create anti-bullying programs and one in five parents gave their children's school a poor or failing grade when it came to addressing bullying.
Just Monday, New Jersey lawmakers introduced an "Anti-bullying Bill of Rights" said to be the toughest state law of its kind.